The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Khaya Magaxa, to request that Eskom present a detailed report to Parliament on its turnaround strategy. Reports today indicate that an internal presentation by Eskom CEO, Jabu Mabuza, on the utility’s turnaround strategy has been leaked to the media.
While it is commendable that Eskom is beginning to seek solutions to its infinite number of woes, it cannot hope to do so without including Parliament as an oversight body in such a process. It is for this reason that the DA has requested the utility present this strategy to Parliament.
The leaked document reportedly details a number of strategies in order to get the utility back on its feet. Of particular concern is the purported debt restructuring of R130 billion over the next 3 years through government, accompanied with long-term debt restructuring; as well as the reported revenue management, outlining the expectation for national government to impose above-inflation tariff increases.
While we support the need for Eskom to restructure, it is concerning that they have seemingly made a unilateral decision to implement strategies which will have serious implications on South African taxpayers and businesses. The proposed restructuring of Eskom’s debt to government and the above inflation tariff increases might ease the burden on Eskom, but it will by no means ease the burden on South Africa’s long-suffering consumers.
It is unconscionable that the South African public are being further milked to pay for the inept and corrupted mismanagement of Eskom. The struggling public entity must ensure that it is completely transparent with its turnaround strategy, as citizens deserve to know how they will be affected by the changes they choose to make.
Both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Pravin Gordhan have said publicly that they are willing to sit around the table with the us to help solve the crisis faced by our country. We are now requesting this interaction again.
The DA has an alternative plan to save and stabilise Eskom to secure South Africa’s power supply, through our Cheaper Energy Bill, which seeks to break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation entity which is privatized and a transmission/distribution entity. This would reduce the cost of electricity, bring about much-needed competition through IPPs and ensure that South Africa is not being forced to pay for the corruption and mismanagement which has taken place at Eskom.